The drive to Westport has brought to us by one laned bridges, thick tree lined forest brush, deep and spectacular rock wall gorges and narrow to no paved shoulders. It took longer than expected, and each turn was quite “gnarly” as per Josh. Everyone we talk to refers to a different section of New Zealand road as “the most sketchy” and just when wonder how harrowing it could actually get, it truly gets a little bit more wild. It’s lucky for us we’re never in a rush, and our camper just prefers to take it easy about 50-70 is our average speed, often on roads like this its closer to 35. Phew! And thank goodness for Zo who is a stellar car napper- I’m not sure how she does it with steep turns and a sometimes screaming toddler. She is truly a camper nap champ.
Westport didn’t offer us much, as we drove in on a Sunday and most things were closed. We hit up the New World to restock our pantry, despite stopping for a few groceries in Murchison along the way following our cafe lunch and antique shop picking. We decided to freedom camp in Westport at the beach, which may sound spectacular. Although the beach was lovely with rough crashing waves in the distance and very unique at low tide with zillions of sandy burm-like tide pools to play and jump around, the “parking lot” looked like a bulldozer just plowed through the brush to make room for a dusty sand place for camper vans to spend the night. You couldn’t even see the beach without walking through some dunes and brush. We were lucky to arrive early enough to get a solid spot, as numerous vans were stuck in the deep silty sand and couldn’t get out in the morning.
Next day we drove onward to Greymouth also on the west coast, which is rugged, tropical looking, and misty with waves crashing onto the rocks (similar to the North side of Maui). The town itself didn’t sound like much more than an industrial town from its reviews, but actually the downtown did have some charming historical buildings though lots were vacant or for lease, which puts a damper on the general feel. We wandered a bit, did a few errands and then proceeded directly to the campground so the kids could play.
It was a quiet day, with not much going on. Josh and Ry went to the beach and built a great driftwood tipi hut, while Zo and I hit the hay for some Z’s. The evening was spent mostly at the playground, and the girls had a warm tub bath on the lawn in the final minutes of warm sunshine.
Here is Ry showing off the house Josh and her built. The log is her couch, and she has a small fire in the middle. The pine cones, that’s how we survive – taste is bland, and they’re a little hard on the gut.